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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ahoy! Another nautical expression!

Good evening everyone, per tradition - we made it to the weekend and thus, you all get a nice post from me. I try my best to post something during the week, but I'm just far too busy, unfortunately. Also, I start school this week, so the likelihood of posts during the week, and even possibly, weekly posts, is somewhat diminished based on that schedule.

Also, I would like to thank Michael M. for his very informative comments on my conversation with Gary. Those can be found here...Cheaters - Comments. Unfortunately, Michael didn't leave an email address or anything, so I'm unable to add him as an author - so I'm guessing we won't be seeing his participation in our discussions anymore.

That being said, I would like to reply directly to those comments, just to kind of keep the conversation going. Again, I would like to thank Michael for increasing my general understanding of Rand's philosophies and objectivism as a whole. I've never claimed to be an expert, and I attempted to make it clear in my conversation with Gary (although I'm not sure if that part got moved over here), that my views are kind of a distorted version of objectivism to kind of match my own life. My only true issue with the monopolies argument, is once a monopoly arises due to course 3), how is society supposed to be protected from these monopolies from abusing their control over the market? I'm all for a company coming out and completely dominating the competition, and those companies should definitely be rewarded for their efforts. However, in a situation where they have no remaining competition due to either buyouts or bankruptcy, than there is no reason to continue innovations and the market becomes stagnant and overpriced. In markets where the upstart cost would far outweigh any potential gain from possible success, this industry standstill would continue until some kind of interference. Yes, there is some argument that consumers would stop purchasing an outdated or overpriced product at some point, but where is that line? This is my only concern regarding completely unregulated monopolies.

I think that responds somewhat to those comments, although I would very much like to continue the discussion with someone so obviously wiser than myself, so Michael - should you stumble upon this again, please leave your e-mail address in a comment (or you can e-mail me directly if you prefer) so that I may add you as an author.

I still have not prepared a well thought out response to Gary's last, although I'm foreseeing a quiet night so perhaps I shall put something together tonight yet.

Moving on to Gary's response in regards to horror movies. First and foremost, I would like to note that most horror movies released since...let's say, circa early 80s, with few exceptions have been formulaic and empty. This could actually be said about most of Hollywood's releases these days, but since we are focusing on horror - the window is much larger, unfortunately. That being said, that is no reason to write off horror as a genre entirely. Some horrors do indeed aspire to something more, like you mention with Southern Comfort (although, I've never scene that one myself, I will make it a point to keep an eye out for it).

Now the worst movies, mostly of the main stream crop, have all of the flaws that Gary mentioned - mindless characters, plots designed around further bloodshed, played out story lines and far-fetched endings. I'm not going to argue that these are a waste of time, but again - we cannot write off an entire genre based on mainstream misinterpretations.

As for the argument that we are being desensitized to violence, in many ways I agree, and yet - I am able to distinguish between fiction and reality. I find it hard to understand that others have a difficult time with this distinction. In no way would my copious hours of viewing mass amounts of bloody murders in anyway take away from the effect of an actual murder happening right in front of me. I am comfortable with horror movies because I know that the people being stabbed, shot, tortured, etc...are actually just fine. I mean, I am capable of drinking and spending time with people without violent tendencies, which you mention as an issue, but I see more going on culturally, than just an obsession with violence. Blaming modern media, while probably at least to some degree - a factor, I see it as more of a cop out more than anything. Modern media is, in theory, a representation of our society - so a society obsessed with violence will produce a violence-center medium, which in turn would likely create a more violence obsessed which case, this is an endless cycle. My biggest issue with this argument is that it takes the blame off the individual again, and places it on society. As if one person's burden, one person's inability to control their own impulses is everyone's problem. Responsibility of one's self should be reserved's self, not society or culture on a whole.

Prior to my next post (which may, or may not be tonight yet - no promises), I shall attempt to comprise a list of good horror films that may, or may not be bloodfests, but truly embody the spirit I feel horror is trying to convey. To pigeonhole such a diverse genre because of it's mainstream appearance would be judging a book by it's cover.

Damn flawed system respecting the record companies' right to distribute music as they see fit...
So anyways, tonight's list was SUPPOSED to include -

Song of the Moment: The Stills - Without Feathers (album). I wanted to include highlights "In the Beginning" (that one I found!) and "Helicopters" (that one didn't happen...). First and foremost, everyone should check out their debut album, Logic Will Break Your Heart, although if plan on checking out Without Feathers as well, prepare for a bit of a culture shock. LWBYH was a very keyboard driven album (think Joy Division) whereas WF took on a more guitar approach, with a bit of experimentation with various degrees of success. While LWBYH is likely more consistent, the highs on WF are higher (the lows are also lower, unfortunately), but I always make it a point to applaud experimentation within a formula band, so this is good. Check them out (I have mp3s and Google Talk if you would like me to send you some samples)...

Song That Makes Me Feel...Nostalgic (again): Harvey Danger - Old Hat (off of Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone). Key lyric - "I forget what my friends look like / and they forget why they like me / but that's old hat / I'm so happy / how do you write about that?" This song works in the same vein as Greetings in Braille, in that as we grow older and further apart from our childhoods (and subsequently, childhood friends), we find ourselves regrettably missing those relationships (platonic and romantic) - however, in 'Old Hat', we find our singer pleading "Call me freaky, call me childish, call me Ishmale. / Just call me back, call me back, call me back and I'll / Follow you around" indicating that those feelings have gone beyond simple nostalgia and taken a proactive precedence in his mindset...or I'm reading into it wrong - how do you take it? Lyrics.

BONUS Songs of the Moment: Harvey Danger - Wrecking Ball AND Problems and Bigger Ones.

The former is all about running away...running from nowhere, unfortunately, as nowhere always catches up. Key line - "Burn down the house / make sure the family is inside / Nothing more to tether you / also no one there to catch you crying" Lyrics. This song also works intentionally against the formerly established childhood yearnings previously indicated on the album (this is track nine - nostalgia come up as a common theme in both 'Old Hat' (track 7) and 'Private Helicopter' (track 4)) in the line "Don't let a childhood linger..."

The latter is all about a failing relationship...this is moreso just a good song, not necessarily a reflection of my present life (so don't try to read into anything). Lyrics.

Again, mp3s available to those interested...good songs, maybe in my next batch I'll have some I can actually add to the playlist.

Bonus Topic - Alice in Wonderland, in all it's variations...discuss.

Bonus Quote - "Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits."
- Dan Barker...discuss


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